Are pregnant women who create birth plans acting out of selfishness? This is the theory posed by a blogger at Femina, who writes that women who plan out the details of their birth are using it as "just one more opportunity to become a self-absorbed fusser.”
I have to say, I don't disagree with all of her post. I don't share her Christian point of view, so I can't identify with that -- but the idea that some women get overly obsessed with the machinations of birth rather than the end result ... well, I think that can be true.
However, the idea of dismissing a woman's right to have choices about how she gives birth, in the name of advocating complacent gratitude? Oh hell no.
Some birth plans are simple: have healthy baby. Some are complex: light lemongrass candle, play Enya CD, warm birthing tub to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, refrain from wearing the color red as that represents emotional intensity. I never felt the need to come up with a complicated birth plan, and as it turns out, it was a good thing I didn't -- because my first birth went NOTHING like I expected.
That's the thing with birth plans, really. All the details of what you want to happen, well, when it comes to having a baby, being empowered doesn't mean being in complete control. All the candles and doulas in the world won't stop you from having an emergency C-section if that's what's necessary for the safety of your child.
The whole issue gets clouded by the fact that many believe that being empowered will prevent interventions or unwanted consequences, and I'm sure in some cases that's true. With our country's C-section rate at 34 percent, there's clearly something to be said for being informed before giving birth. Plus, women have every right to do what they can to try and have the birthing experience they desire -- that's their medical right, or at least it should be.
Here's what the blogger writes:
Recently I’ve been noticing what I might call a mom-zilla counterpart to the bride-zilla. Have you ever noticed how much fussing goes on about childbirth? Blogs and Facebook posts are crowded with women fussing about “their day” of giving birth. It must be just so, and how dare anyone give birth or expect a woman to give birth in such a manner as to interfere with the perfect surroundings?
I’ve seen fussing about doctors, about hospitals, about tubs or lack of tubs, about midwives or lack of midwives, about pain-killers, and monitors. You would think it was the prom rather than bringing forth a child. It is just one more opportunity to become a self-absorbed fusser. And some women get to fuss over and over and over with each child. At least Bride-zilla just has one opportunity.
Childbirth has become quite the controversial topic, and women can become dictatorial about what they want, even to the point of demanding that other women want the same things.
I would hardly call a woman with a birth plan a "fusser," and I'm not sure how it's any different to criticize that approach to giving birth than it is to criticize someone for choosing to have their baby in a hospital instead of at home.
The part I can agree with is that sometimes we can get too hung up on having a picture-perfect birth, and if things don't work out, then we feel unnecessarily sad afterwards, even if we have a healthy baby as a result. But honestly, those can be real feelings that are hard to deny. I mean, I was disappointed after my high blood pressure led to a surprise C-section at 37 weeks, and I didn't even HAVE a plan.
At the end of the day, women should be supported in their birth choices. What might seem "fussy" to one person could be mission-critical to another, and who are we to say any different?
What do you think about the idea that birth plans are "self-absorbed"?
Image via David Swift Photography/Flickr